For this video my partner Chris Johnson and I were tasked with capturing the essence of Seth Godin's inspiring new book The Icarus Deception.
From the very beginning of the process, we knew that the project would be both challenging and rewarding. Seth has high standards and knows what he likes. Finding visual language that would fit his style and that would represent the ideas well was no small task.
Our team of writers at Simplifilm created the script, and Seth agreed to narrate the piece.
Music selection was particularly difficult because we wanted the tone to shift from a minor, somewhat painful vibe, to something that felt powerful and hopeful.
Tonally, Seth wanted the viewer feel a sense of pain in the beginning followed by a sense of hope . Following those cues, we were intentional about the imagery and style we used.
Everything was fairly colorless, stoic and plain looking to start. We wanted to capture the feeling of melancholy that comes with living in a passionless rut.
The opening scene used a combination of original and stock vector illustrations, Poser hand models and a lot of key framing to mimic the look of time lapse photography. I used Real Smart motion blur to make things feel more video-like.
The biggest hurdle in this section was to get realistic movement on the paper blowing away. I tried several automated options, but I ultimately had to hand key frame a shape layer to pull it off.
For the hour glass, I used Motion Boutique's Newton plugin to generate the motion for the grains of sand falling.
The cubical farm was built from flat illustrator based layers rather than using a 3D model. I did it this way to match the look of everything that preceded it.
The gears were also driven by Newton, and extruded with Video Co-Pilot's Element 3D.
One of the biggest challenges of the video was the coins dropping and rolling across the parking lot. For this, I used Newton to similate the motion of the coins bouncing, and Element for the coins. I also spent hours creating Walmart-esque building in Illustration... time well spent.
By far the most difficult aspect of this video was the final scene when the still painting comes to life. After searching for hours for the right downtown scene, I then began the process of removing all of the cars and people to create a clean plate.
To create the illusion of flying down the street, I used camera projection. To further enhance the depth, I isolated and removed the 6 foreground light poles, and then added them back into the scene in 3D space.
The final touch was using trapcode's 3D stroke to simulate headlight streaks.
Finally, the book was cut up into layers, arranged in 3D space and precomped using collapse transformations to within the final comp. For the pages flipping by, I used Bezier Warp in combination with rotation keyframes to give the pages a more natural/less flat feel.
This project was one of the most challenging videos we've worked on to date. Seth was very generous with his time and was fairly involved throughout the project. He pushed us to better things on many occasions, making this one of our most popular trailers to date.
If you're interested in a video like this, contact us at simplifilm.com